‘Might Angels Walk Among Us?’ is an article I originally wrote for BeArte Gallery which has now sadly closed. I have updated the article slightly.
Angels are depicted frequently in literature and art and many people do believe that angels walk among us. Did you know that the study of angels is called ‘angelology’?
Depictions of angels and the angel hierarchies vary from a beautiful physical form, often androgynous, to the powerful, for example, Archangel Michael. Halos, wings and beams and light often accompany angelic depiction. Many artists and writers believe that angels walk among us.
Angels and Compassion
The artist Diego Velasquez used a very ordinary looking angel in his painting Christ After The Flagellation Contemplated By A Christian Soul. I think it was more powerful because the angel blended into a very human scene, kindly indicating to the viewer that we should be looking at the incredible force of emotional connection between the Christ and the pitying child. The painting was not about some great angelic intervention but human compassion for another. I confess the first time I saw it, the painting made me cry. It is a wonderful example of visual storytelling that affects the viewer at several different levels.
Angels and Joy
In literature there are many references to angels. One of my favourite short stories is by Hans Christian Andersen called ‘The Angel’. It tells the story of a dead child and how an angel came down to collect the child and they collect flowers to take with them to heaven. The extract that caught my attention and inspired my own work was this:
‘Then the child opened his eyes wide and looked up into the angel’s beautiful happy face, and at that moment they found themselves in God’s Heaven where there was everlasting joy and happiness. And God pressed the child to His bosom, and he received glorious white wings like the angel’s so they flew together, hand in hand.’
It is a beautiful story and I urge you to read it. My own artistic interpretation of the quoted paragraph, shown above, is called ‘The Child Angel’.
Many of us have our own angel stories.
I had a friend called Ben with terminal brain cancer. A lovely man who survived much longer than expected, towards the end of his life he was very frail and his head and neck had swollen owing to medication. He was a shadow of his former self and didn’t recognise me when I last saw him.
I was sitting looking at him and I couldn’t believe how he was able to still be sitting in his chair. He was leaning at such an incredible angle that I kept expecting him to fall off. Sun rays were pouring through a window on to him. At that moment I imagined his guardian angel patiently kneeling on the floor next to him supporting him, holding him up and that was the inspiration for my piece entitled ‘Ben’s Angel’.
Talking of guardian angels, and stepping sideways into the world of movies for a moment, one of my favourite angels is Clarence from ‘It’s A Wonderful Life‘. Clarence is George Bailey’s Guardian Angel and looks like a bumbling old man. No superhuman powers, just an ordinary person using the power of love to heal someone. Remember, every time a bell rings an angel gets his wings!
I like the idea of our own guardian angel, someone like Clarence for example, walking beside us, watching over us, catching us if we fall.
Walking In Companionship
One day, I was walking the dog through our woodland and I had the overwhelming impression that the dog and I were not alone, that something was walking beside me. It was a good feeling, like being in the company of a really good friend, a companionable silence if you will. It inspired me to create my piece An Angel Awaits.
Angels In Times of Despair
But there are times I wonder if angels exist at all, for if so how could some of the evils of the world continue if they did?
In 2016, I wrote this short poem ‘Tears for Aleppo’ which grew out of my despair and helplessness at the time. I illustrated the poem with my piece ‘And The Angel Played A Violin‘.
Tears for Aleppo
And the angel played a violin
lost in the rapture of the melodious sound
that reached the farthest parts
of hate and horror
and soothed the tortured souls.
As she cried tears for Aleppo.
(c) 2016 Dorothy Berry-Lound
Of course compassion and love are not just the province of angels, they are human qualities we can all bring and should bring to our daily lives. But what do you think? Do angels walk among us?
Before you go
My name is Dorothy Berry-Lound an artist and writer. You can find out more about my art and writing at https://dorothyberryloundart.com.
Thank you for reading!